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U.S. Serviceman Killed in Ukraine During NATO Drills That Included Fresno-Based California National Guard Unit

Air force exercises by the United States and other NATO countries take place at the Starokostyantyniv military airbase in Ukraine as part of Clear Sky-2018 on Oct.12, 2018. (Credit: GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Air force exercises by the United States and other NATO countries take place at the Starokostyantyniv military airbase in Ukraine as part of Clear Sky-2018 on Oct.12, 2018. (Credit: GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A U.S. serviceman was killed in Ukraine on Tuesday when a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 fighter jet crashed during large-scale training exercises in the embattled former Soviet republic.

The Ukrainian military issued a statement that said both pilots — one Ukrainian, one American — were killed when the jet crashed in the Vinnytsia region, about 140 miles southwest of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.

“We are sad to report that according to the search-and-rescue group, the bodies of two pilots were found,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement posted to its website.

The pilots were taking part in a “training and combat flight” as part of multinational military exercises with the United States and seven other NATO countries. The exercises, called Clear Sky-2018, include members of the California’s National Guard’s Fresno-based 144th Fighter Wing group, according to a Facebook post. The post showed F-15C Eagle fighter jets arriving in western Ukraine a week ago.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.